Dele Alli Rescues Mourinho’s Tottenham At Burnley

Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Dele Alli celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 7, 2020. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 7, 2020. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Dele Alli rescued a point for faltering Tottenham at Burnley on Saturday, scoring a penalty to earn a 1-1 draw and keep Jose Mourinho’s team in the hunt for a top-four finish.

The home side were dominant in the first half at Turf Moor, taking the lead through Chris Wood, but a much-improved Spurs battled back after the break to avoid a damaging third straight defeat.

Sean Dyche’s men, who were in relegation trouble as recently as January, are now unbeaten in seven league games but will rue missing the chance to clamber above Spurs after taking the lead.

The draw leaves Tottenham in eighth place, just four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and two behind fifth-placed Wolves. Burnley are a further two points adrift.

Fifth spot could be enough to secure Champions League football next season depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against their European ban.

“There was a lot of aggression at half-time, we knew we were not good enough,” said Alli, whose goal was his 50th in the Premier League.

“If you switch off for a second they can punish you. Going in at half time 1-0 down, it was a sticky changing room to be. But we did better and created enough opportunities to win.”

Spurs, again without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, started brightly but Burnley were quickly into their stride and deservedly took the lead in the 13th minute.

Jay Rodriguez shot straight at Hugo Lloris from the edge of the box but the Tottenham goalkeeper spilled the shot and Wood pounced to tap home the rebound.

Burnley continued to carry more of a threat, regularly unsettling the Spurs defence and Dwight McNeil forced a flying save from Lloris from a free-kick.

Ashley Westwood fired wide eight minutes before the break while Wood was narrowly off target from Westwood’s free-kick.

Spurs changes

Mourinho made two substitutions at half-time to lift his flat team, bringing on Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso for Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele.

Burnley were quickly out of the blocks, putting Spurs’ creaking defence under pressure but the visitors were given a lifeline when Ben Mee clumsily tripped Erik Lamela in the 48th minute.

Alli stepped up and sent Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope the wrong way, burying the ball in the bottom right corner.

The goal lifted the visitors, who were suddenly playing with more confidence but Burnley’s players believed they had a case for a penalty minutes later when Davinson Sanchez made a robust challenge on Wood.

There were chances for both sides as the second half wore on.

Wood shot straight at Lloris while Lo Celso curled just wide at the other end. Minutes later Burnley substitute Matej Vydra saw his close-range shot saved by the sprawling Spurs goalkeeper as they pushed for the winner.

Liverpool are just three wins away from guaranteeing their first top-flight title since 1990 and Manchester City look secure in second place, seven points clear of Leicester.

But just six points separate Chelsea from Crystal Palace in 11th spot.

 

AFP

Burnley Hold Arsenal To Goalless Draw

Arsenal’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi wins a header from Burnley’s New Zealand striker Chris Wood during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on February 2, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Arsenal lost more ground in the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four after being held to a 0-0 draw at Burnley on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side are trailing 10 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and look certain to fall well short of the Champions League places.

It was another frustrating afternoon for Arteta, who saw his team squander several chances to take the lead in a match they could easily have lost with better finishing from Burnley.

Arsenal are without a win in their last four league games, having drawn all four of them, and Arteta has won just once in seven league matches since replacing the sacked Unai Emery.

Arteta can point to only one defeat in that period and there is no doubt Arsenal are more competitive than they were under Emery.

Even so, they still look creaky at the back and lack a cutting edge up front, a concerning issue given the supposed wealth of attacking options in Arteta’s squad.

Arsenal have now drawn five consecutive away league matches for the first time since August 1948 and actually sit closer to the relegation zone — seven points away — than the top four.

New signings Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari were missing from the Arsenal squad due to fitness concerns.

But Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang returned after serving a suspension for his red card at Crystal Palace.

Mesut Ozil made his 250th Arsenal appearance after reports Arteta has blocked the German from joining a Qatari club.

Ozil and Aubameyang combined to carve open the Burnley defence in the opening moments, but Alexandre Lacazette headed wide from the Gabon striker’s cross.

Arteta had his players run into boxing bags at the club’s training ground this week in an unusual attempt to prepare for the physical test posed by Burnley.

 Work ethic 

Arsenal were up for the challenge, moving the ball quickly and with purpose at times.

But Aubameyang should have done better than shoot harmlessly wide after getting behind Matt Lowton to reach David Luiz’s long pass.

After a slow start, Burnley threatened when Jay Rodriguez tested Bernd Leno with a stinging drive before Dwight McNeil blasted just over.

Arsenal remained dangerous on the counter and Burnley keeper Nick Pope did well to block Aubameyang’s chip.

Kept in the contest by their relentless work ethic, Burnley could have snatched the lead when Jeff Hendrick scooped wastefully over from McNeil’s cross.

Arsenal suffered a blow when young left-back Bukayo Saka was forced off at the interval after initially playing through his first-half injury.

Arteta’s defence were exposed in the air time and again as Burnley dominated after half-time.

They stood rooted to the spot when James Tarkowski headed a free-kick wide before Hendrick nodded past the post from McNeil’s cross.

Aubameyang has seven goals in four games against Burnley, but he couldn’t break the deadlock this time, diving to head wide from Lacazette’s cross.

Rodriguez should have won it for Burnley when he met McNeil’s cross with a close-range volley that hit the bar and bounced down on the line, with goalline technology confirming the whole ball did not go over.

AFP

Solskjaer Pleads For Patience After Man United’s Loss To Burnley

Unfit United Players Risk Exclusion From Pre-Season Tour, Solskjaer Warns
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts after the final whistle in the English Premier League football match against Everton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on April 21, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pleaded for time to get Manchester United back on track after the beleaguered boss and his under-performing stars were booed off and labelled an “embarrassment” following Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat against Burnley.

Solskjaer’s side were rocked by Chris Wood’s first-half opener before Jay Rodriguez scored with a superb strike after the break at Old Trafford.

It was a woeful display from fifth-placed United, who are in such poor form that there will be fresh questions about Solskjaer’s job security in the coming days.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand, a Premier League and Champions League winner with the club, slammed the performance and called for owners Glazer family to take action to stop the rot.

“Fans are walking out after 84 minutes! It’s an embarrassment. People at the top need to look and see this and make changes,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“The downward spiral in this short space of time, it’s only seven years, has been remarkable.”

Solskjaer had no complaints about a result that laid bare everything wrong with a rudderless team lacking steel in defence, creativity in midfield and a cutting edge upfront.

“We have got to hold our hands up and say it wasn’t good enough. In the first half, we created some half openings but we were not sharp enough to take our chances,” Solskjaer said.

“The boys have given everything they have got but they are experiencing this period for the first time in their lives.

“When you are at Manchester United you are playing at the biggest and best club in the world. Some of them have played 10, 12, 15 games and it’s not easy for them.”

United trail six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea but, given how they have struggled so often this season, the only surprise is that the gap isn’t bigger.

United’s tally of 34 points is their lowest after 24 matches of a top-flight season since 1989-90 and the majority of Old Trafford was on its feet when chants of “stand up if you hate Glazers” echoed around the ground.

 ‘Mentally tired’ 

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was also subjected to abusive chants in a toxic atmosphere, while those few fans who remained in the stadium booed Solskjaer and his players at full-time.

But Solskjaer is still adamant he can turn the tide if he is given time to develop United youngsters like Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams.

“I’m going to back them and help them get through this. The players are giving everything, they have done absolutely fantastic so far this season but they know it wasn’t good enough tonight,” Solskjaer said.

“The boys looked mentally tired towards the end, we didn’t find that creativity. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“When you are at Man United you are privileged because you are playing for the best club in the world. Sometimes you go through periods like that and it is a test I am sure they are going to come through.”

United must regroup to avoid more misery in the FA Cup fourth round against Watford or Tranmere on Sunday before they head to Manchester City looking to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit in the League Cup semi-finals next Wednesday.

If United are knocked out of both cup competitions, Solskjaer is likely to find the patience of supporters who idolised him during his playing days will dwindle even further.

The gap between United and runaway leaders Liverpool stood at 30 points after Sunday’s defeat at Anfield and there is no sign of Solskjaer bridging the divide any time soon.

Aware the pressure is mounting, Solskjaer is keen to make signings to bolster his injury-hit squad, with leading scorer Marcus Rashford and star midfielder Paul Pogba both sidelined.

“We are looking to improve, we have got our targets. This is our second defeat at home and first since August. I thought we had turned that corner,” he said.

“We have started a clear-out and now I am going to be answering these questions until the window closes. We are working on things.

“For me, the most important thing is we have to perform on the pitch. Tonight wasn’t good enough for a Manchester United team.”

AFP

Burnley On The Rise As Westwood’s Late Strike Stuns Leicester

Burnley’s English midfielder Ashley Westwood (R) shoots past Leicester City’s Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (C) to score their second goal to take the lead 2-1 during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Leicester City at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 19, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Burnley fought back to boost their bid for Premier League survival as Ashley Westwood’s late goal clinched a 2-1 win over Leicester on Sunday.

Sean Dyche’s side trailed to a first-half goal from Burnley-born Harvey Barnes at Turf Moor.

But Chris Wood equalised after half-time before Burnley keeper Nick Pope saved a penalty from Jamie Vardy.

Burnley’s impressive revival was completed 11 minutes from full-time when Westwood fired home to end their run of four successive league defeats and move them five points clear of the bottom three.

It was the perfect way to mark Dyche’s 300th game as Burnley boss after seven defeats from their previous nine games had plunged them into the relegation battle.

Leicester’s surprise home defeat against Southampton last weekend knocked them out of second place and this was another setback for Brendan Rodgers’ suddenly spluttering team.

The Foxes remain third despite a fourth loss in their last six league matches

Leicester’s cause wasn’t helped by the absence of rested England left-back Ben Chilwell amid talk of a potential move to Chelsea during the January transfer window.

Within the first minute, a simple long ball headed on by Vardy unhinged the Burnley defence and Barnes cut inside to test Pope.

Burnley’s effort couldn’t be faulted but at first they lacked composure and quality in the final third.

Westwood found Wood in space but his low strike drifted wide, then Jay Rodriguez shot straight at Kasper Schmeichel from long-range.

Leicester deservedly took the lead in the 33rd minute.

With Burnley appealing in vain for a foul by Dennis Praet on Jack Cork, Leicester stole possession and Barnes raced into the penalty area.

Vardy cleverly made a run that distracted James Tarkowski and Barnes stepped past Ben Mee to drill a cool finish under Pope for his third goal of the season.

Wood couldn’t finish off Cork’s tempting cross as Burnley failed to score a first half goal in 11 successive league games.

Vardy nearly doubled Leicester’s lead soon after the interval with a stinging strike following a vibrant attack from the visitors.

But Burnley kept plugging away and Wood headed over from a good position six yards out.

It was a warning Leicester failed to heed and New Zealand striker Wood made them pay in the 56th minute when he tapped in his ninth league goal of the season after Schmeichel pushed Mee’s header into his path.

Rodgers’ side had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Mee’s foul on Barnes gave them a penalty.

Vardy stepped up to take it after a lengthy VAR check, but Pope dived to his left to make a fine save.

Pope stood tall to deny Vardy again when Leicester’s leading scorer broke through on goal.

Vardy’s misses proved fatal as Burnley won it in the 79th minute.

Charlie Taylor’s cross wasn’t cleared by Jonny Evans and Westwood pounced with a close-range finish that left Leicester shell-shocked.

Martial, Rashford Score For United In Burnley Win

Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (C) puts the ball in the back of the net but is ruled to have fouled Burnley’s English defender James Tarkowski (L) ruling out the goal during the English Premier League football match at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on December 28, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford scored late in each half as Manchester United moved into fifth place in the Premier League with an impressive 2-0 win at Burnley.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have responded positively to disappointing 2-0 defeat to then bottom-of-the-table Watford less than a week ago to head into the new year with fresh belief they can secure a return to the Champions League next season.

If United are to achieve that goal, Martial and Rashford will be key and they again provided the goals for the Red Devils in a game of few clear-cut chances.

There were also positives for Solskjaer at the back as his side ended a club-record 14-match run without a Premier League clean sheet.

Burnley have not beaten United since 2009 and never looked likely to spring a surprise.

Rashford was first to threaten when he hit the outside of the post midway through the first half.

But Burnley were architects of their own downfall just before half-time when Charlie Taylor gifted possession to Andreas Perreira and he fed Martial to score his third goal in two games.

Phil Bardsley forced David De Gea into a fine save with Burnley’s only shot on target.

United finally got the second goal their performance deserved to add a shine to the scoreline deep into stoppage time.

Daniel James led a counter-attack down the right and Rashford slotted home his 16th goal of the season at the second attempt after slipping as he rounded Nick Pope.

‘Son-aldo!’: Mourinho Salutes South Korean’s Wonder-Goal

 

 

Jose Mourinho hailed Son Heung-min’s wonder-strike in Tottenham’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley as the best goal he has seen since an equally stunning effort from Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

On the day he was presented with the AFC Asian International Player of the Year award by compatriot Park Ji-sung, Son underlined his place among the game’s elite with arguably the greatest goal of his glittering career.

With Spurs already rampant after early goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, Son stole the show before half-time in north London when he ran from deep inside his own half past a host of Burnley defenders and capped the astonishing burst with an ice-cool finish.

Son’s 77 goals in Spurs colours since his 2015 move from Bayer Leverkusen have featured some memorable moments but none have been quite as dazzling as this one.

The 27-year-old winger’s 10th goal of the season ranks among the best ever scored by a Tottenham player, alongside Ricky Villa’s 1981 FA Cup final gem and Gareth Bale’s Champions League classic against Inter Milan in 2010.

Fans on social media compared the goal to classics from Lionel Messi and George Weah, but Tottenham boss Mourinho recalled a sublime solo strike from Ronaldo during his time as a Barcelona assistant.

“Before this goal my son calls him Son-aldo and today he was Son-aldo!” Mourinho said.

“This was an amazing goal. I know that he is going to reach the face of the keeper, his control is unstoppable. The keeper is good, but he managed to put it in.

“The only thing that compares was when I was at Barcelona with Bobby Robson. Ronaldo Nazario, Compostela against Barcelona, 1996.

“Ronaldo got the ball near the halfway line and scored a similar goal, an amazing goal.”

After working with Son for just a few weeks since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho has already developed an extra appreciation for a player he had always admired from afar.

“From the outside I had the feeling about him. I remember speaking with Sir Alex (Ferguson) about Park Ji-sung. It is a cultural thing. They like to learn, they are very humble,” Mourinho said.

“I met his parents. I understand where it comes from. The kid is fantastic. I am so happy.”

Unselfish Son

Always modest and unselfish, Son claimed he had wanted to pass rather than go on his epic run.

“When I got the ball and tried to pass it to Dele (Alli) but I couldn’t find him so I just kept going. I am happy to score this goal,” Son told a television interview while Mourinho shouted “give him the man of the match” in the background.

Tottenham captain Kane benefitted from Son’s excellence as the first of his two goals came from the South Korean’s assist.

And Kane was quick to pay tribute to Son’s headline-grabbing performance.

“Sonny stole the show today. An unbelievable goal, a great counter attack,” he said.

“All he wants to do is work hard and play for the team. He has great quality and works hard for the team.”

Tottenham’s biggest Premier League win of the season was a welcome tonic for Mourinho after his 100 percent start came to an end at his former club Manchester United in midweek.

“The performance was important, happiness for the fans, happiness for the team, a clean-sheet. I am really happy,” said Mourinho, whose side are up to fifth place.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was less keen to join the praise for Son, preferring to blame his players for not fouling the winger before he got close to the penalty area.

“It’s at source we didn’t deal with it. Once he gets running, it’s time for a technical foul. We are not good at that and didn’t do it,” Dyche said.

“Of course from his point of view it is a fantastic goal.”

Tottenham Crush Burnley In Five-Goal Showdown

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match against Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 7, 2019. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

 

Son Heung-min scored a sublime contender for the Premier League’s goal of the season as the South Korean’s moment of genius inspired Tottenham’s 5-0 rout of Burnley on Saturday.

On the day he was presented with the AFC Asian International Player of the Year award by compatriot Park Ji-sung, Son underlined his place among the game’s elite with arguably the greatest effort of his glittering career.

With Spurs already rampant after early goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, Son stole the show before half-time when he ran from deep inside his own half past a host of Burnley defenders and capped the astonishing burst with an ice-cool finish.

Since christening the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with its first senior goal last season, Son has now been directly involved in 15 goals in 15 appearances at the plush north London arena.

Son’s 77 goals in Spurs colours since his 2015 move from Bayer Leverkusen have featured some memorable moments but none have been quite as dazzling as this one.

The 27-year-old winger’s 10th goal of the season ranks among the best ever scored by a Tottenham player, alongside Ricky Villa’s 1981 FA Cup final gem and Gareth Bale’s Champions League classic against Inter Milan in 2010.

It was the culmination of a swaggering Tottenham display that featured further goals from Kane and Moussa Sissoko, putting them back on track after their 100 per cent start under new boss Jose Mourinho was ended by Wednesday’s defeat at his former club Manchester United.

As if Son’s masterclass wasn’t enough to lift Mourinho’s spirits, Tottenham also kept the first clean-sheet of his reign after conceding twice in each of his first four matches.

Tottenham are up to fifth place, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, after their fourth win in five games in all competitions under Mourinho.

Aware that his players were feeling sorry for themselves in the Old Trafford dressing room on Wednesday, Mourinho urged them to respond to the first setback of his reign by showing “rage and anger”.

It took just five minutes to see Mourinho’s impassioned plea had the desired effect.

Son laid a cushioned pass into Kane’s path and, with the Burnley defence backing off too far, he advanced unchecked before blasting a thunderous 25-yard strike past Nick Pope.

Tottenham were pouring forward with such pace and poise that Burnley were powerless to stem the tide as Mourinho’s men struck again four minutes later.

– Jaw-dropping –

Son was involved again with a scintillating run and low shot that Pope blocked into the path of Burnley defender Ben Mee, who deflected it high into the air.

Dele Alli flicked a back header towards the net and Lucas was on hand to tap in his fourth goal of the season from virtually on the goal-line.

Mourinho slept at Tottenham’s training ground immediately after flying back from Manchester, allowing him extra time to work on the Burnley game-plan, but even he couldn’t have drawn up Son’s 32nd-minute stunner.

Taking possession on the edge of his own penalty area, Son looked for a pass before deciding the best option was to go it alone.

He accelerated with such speed that in the blink of an eye he was past McNeil’s challenge and through a Burnley defence still regrouping from their own attack.

After evading Eric Pieters’ despairing lunge, Son was face to face with Pope and his clinical low strike was the perfect finish to a jaw-dropping goal.

Tottenham weren’t finished yet and Kane got his second in the 54th minute, cleverly gliding away from two Burnley defenders before firing into the roof of the net from 18 yards for his 15th club goal of another prolific season.

Sissoko’s emphatic drive rounded off Tottenham’s biggest league win of the season in the 74th minute.

AFP

Pulisic Stars For Chelsea As Man City Close On Liverpool

Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) scores their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on October 26, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Christian Pulisic hit the first hat-trick of his career as Chelsea crushed Burnley 4-2 on Saturday while Manchester City overcame a sluggish start to beat Aston Villa and increase the pressure on Liverpool.

In the early kick-off, a frustrated Pep Guardiola watched his side recover from a tepid first half to defeat Villa 3-0 and close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to three points.

US international Pulisic scored his first goals for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who have now won four straight Premier League games, while Marco Silva is under pressure after another Everton defeat.

Pulisic, who had not previously scored for Chelsea and has struggled to win a starting berth, emphatically staked his claim with a hat-trick at Turf Moor.

The 21-year-old capitalised on some indecision from Burnley to drive into the penalty area and steer a low left-footed shot into the corner of Nick Pope’s net midway through the first period.

The former Borussia Dortmund winger doubled his tally for the Blues with a second goal just before half-time, benefiting from a big deflection off Ben Mee, and grabbed his third with a second-half header.

Willian added a fourth for rampant Chelsea in the 58th minute to take the score to 4-0 and despite late goals for Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil, the visitors avoided further shocks to win 4-2.

Earlier, City boss Guardiola was frustrated with the way his players struggled to establish any momentum in the first half against Villa despite an ultimately comfortable win at the Etihad Stadium.

“Of course, respect and credit for Aston Villa. The first half we played football but we don’t play in the way we should play,” Guardiola said, after second-half goals from Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.

“We were better in the second half. I don’t know if it was because of the early goal.

“In the second we play in the way we normally do but we have to try and play 90 minutes. We played just 45.”

City’s second successive league win means Liverpool are under pressure to beat Tottenham at Anfield in Sunday’s clash between last season’s Champions League finalists.

 Tarnished Silva 

At the Amex Stadium, Everton blew a 2-1 lead over Brighton in the final 10 minutes to leave boss Silva fighting to save his job.

Silva’s side recovered from conceding the first goal to lead but Brighton’s Neal Maupay scored an 80th-minute penalty after Michael Keane was controversially ruled by VAR to have fouled Aaron Connolly.

And Everton defender Lucas Digne added to Silva’s woes when his stoppage-time own goal from Leandro Trossard’s cross left Everton two points above the relegation zone after their fifth defeat in their past six league games.

“We have to be more mature to control the last 10 minutes,” Silva told the BBC. “It’s a tough moment for us. We have to stick together.”

Watford remain bottom of the table after a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth.

Lys Mousset, who scored the winner against Arsenal last week, finished a memorable week on a high note with the equaliser in Sheffield United’s 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Saturday’s action could not eclipse Leicester’s incredible 9-0 thrashing of Southampton at St Mary’s 24 hours earlier.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers believes there is even better to come from Leicester after they equalled the biggest margin of victory in the Premier League era.

Leicester are third after hat-tricks from Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy secured the biggest away win in English top-flight history.

“I think we’ll get better, we will improve. Of course the result and performance is perfect,” Rodgers said.

“We have young players who are only going to gain even more confidence. We will get better. We certainly won’t just be content with what we’re doing.”

Aside from the Liverpool-Spurs clash on Sunday, Newcastle host Wolves, Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at home and Manchester United travel to Norwich.

AFP

Liverpool Record 13th Straight Premier League Win At Burnley

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during their Premier League football match against Burnley at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on August 31, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Liverpool recorded a club record 13th consecutive Premier League win to move back to the top of the table with minimal fuss courtesy of a 3-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday.

Two goals in four first-half minutes swung the game decisively in the visitors’ favour as Chris Wood deflected Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross into his own net before Sadio Mane’s cool finish on the counter-attack doubled Liverpool’s advantage.

Roberto Firmino then rounded off the scoring 10 minutes from time as the Reds maintained their 100 percent start to the season after four games.

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Victory takes the European champions back two points clear of Manchester City, who were also in dominant form to beat Brighton 4-0 earlier in the day.

Burnley were left to rue missing the first big chance of the match when Wood got in behind the Liverpool defence just three minutes in and turned Virgil van Dijk, but the New Zealander’s shot was just too close to Adrian, who palmed the ball to safety.

Liverpool went straight down the other end and were inches away from an early lead themselves when Mohamed Salah’s fiercely struck effort came back off the post.

The Egyptian then did not get the break of the ball as Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope’s clearance bounced off Salah and inches wide.

However, fortune did favour Jurgen Klopp’s men 12 minutes before half-time.

Alexander-Arnold was clearly looking to deliver a cross into the box, but the ball flicked off Wood and looped over Pope into the far corner.

Burnley then played a huge part in their own downfall moments later when Ben Mee gifted possession to Firmino inside the hosts’ half.

Firmino strode forward before releasing a perfect pass so Mane did not have to break his stride in finding the bottom corner.

Liverpool could ease off the gas after the break to record their first clean sheet of the season as Burnley rarely threatened to get back into the game.

Firmino became the first Brazilian to score 50 Premier League goals when he found the bottom corner from just outside the box.

However, there was one flashpoint that will not have pleased Klopp as Mane reacted angrily after being substituted moments after Salah chooses to go for goal himself rather than squaring for his teammate, who appeared in a better position.

Burnley, Brighton Enjoy Strong Starts As City Rout West Ham

Burnley’s English striker Ashley Barnes (C) celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on August 10, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP.

 

 

Manchester City opened the defence of their Premier League title in ominous fashion on Saturday as Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham, while Burnley and Brighton enjoyed impressive wins.

However, the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) for the first time in the Premier League proved Saturday’s big talking point with a series of reviews and delays at the London Stadium.

City had a goal ruled out for the tightest of offside calls against Sterling and Sergio Aguero was afforded the chance to retake a penalty by VAR after seeing his first attempt saved.

“Only what I wish is that VAR doesn’t make mistakes please,” said City boss Pep Guardiola, who felt that his side’s disallowed goal should have stood.

Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Norwich on Friday sent the message to City that they are up for another titanic title battle after missing out by just one point last season.

But in a worrying sign for those trying to stop Guardiola’s men romping to a third straight league crown, City cruised to victory despite being far from their best before half-time.

The visitors led at the break thanks to Gabriel Jesus’ opener, but moved through the gears after the break as Sterling scored twice in 14 minutes.

Aguero then denied the England international the chance to seal his hat-trick from the spot, before the 24-year-old eventually grabbed his third goal of the game in stoppage time.

“Perfect start? It terms of the result yes, in terms of the performance no,” said the ever-demanding Guardiola. “In the first-half we were sloppy with our passes.”

– Potter’s perfect start –

Brighton’s new manager Graham Potter enjoyed a dream start to his time in charge as the Seagulls beat last season’s FA Cup finalists Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s own goal gave the visitors a half-time lead before Florin Andone and Neil Maupay on his debut sealed a highly impressive three points for a Brighton side that narrowly escaped relegation last season.

Burnley were also 3-0 winners at Turf Moor as an Ashley Barnes double and Johann Gudmundsson’s strike condemned Southampton to a heavy defeat.

Crystal Palace’s wantaway star Wilfried Zaha put his grievances with the club’s hierarchy behind him to make an appearance as a second-half substitute against Everton, but neither side could break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw.

Zaha could have lined up for the visitors at Selhurst Park as Palace ignored a transfer request from the Ivorian to reject two bids from the Toffees after interest from Arsenal earlier in the transfer window cooled.

Everton were one of the biggest spenders in the window with seven new signings, but were forced to hang on for a point when Morgan Schneiderlin was sent-off 14 minutes from time for a second yellow card.

Sheffield United grabbed a late point away to Bournemouth on their return to the top flight after a 13-year absence.

Chris Mepham put the Cherries in front just after the hour mark on the south coast, but Billy Sharp’s strike two minutes from time salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Blades.

Last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham begin their campaign later on Saturday at home to Aston Villa.

AFP

Chelsea Up To Fourth After Frustrating Burnley Draw

 

 

Chelsea moved up to fourth in the Premier League after a chaotic 2-2 draw against Burnley, but the sloppy display did little to enhance their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Maurizio Sarri’s side fell behind to Jeff Hendrick’s fine finish before N’Golo Kante equalised moments later.

In a frantic opening 24 minutes at Stamford Bridge, Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea ahead, only for Burnley’s Ashley Barnes to punish more dismal defending from the Blues.

Without a win in their last two league games, Chelsea will take only slender comfort from climbing one point above fifth-placed Arsenal to sit level on points with third-placed Tottenham.

Chelsea would have gone third with a victory, but instead, they have now played a game more than top-four rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who are three points behind in sixth.

It was a missed opportunity after defeats for Tottenham, Arsenal and United at the weekend and Chelsea were booed off at full-time.

In a fitting coda to a damaging evening, Sarri was sent to the stands for protesting in the final seconds before several members of the Blues bench were involved in a tetchy touchline clash with their Burnley counterparts.

Now Arsenal can replace Chelsea in fourth if they avoid defeat at Wolves on Wednesday.

Adding to Sarri’s problems, he was hit by first-half injuries to France midfielder Kante and England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Chelsea are fighting to avoid missing out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season, which hasn’t happened since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Even an influential display from Eden Hazard couldn’t aid their cause against tenacious Burnley.

Hazard was named on the PFA Player of the Year shortlist on Saturday and the Belgian, fit to start after suffering an Achilles knock against Slavia, led the Chelsea assault.

His stinging drive forced an unconvincing save from Burnley keeper Tom Heaton before his sublime chipped pass set up Higuain for a lob that Ben Mee acrobatically hooked off the line.

Despite that fast start, Chelsea were stunned in the eighth minute when Hendrick’s rocket put Burnley ahead.

It was a poor goal for Chelsea to concede as Cesar Azpilicueta could only head a Burnley corner to the edge of the area, where Hendrick was left unmarked to volley a superb dipping strike past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Slow to react

Hazard’s majestic assist helped Chelsea draw level four minutes later, underlining why the club are so keen to keep their talisman out of Real Madrid’s clutches.

Cutting in from the left, Hazard twisted and turned so rapidly that Burnley defender Matt Lowton fell flat on his backside as the Belgian picked out Kante for a powerful shot that flashed past Heaton from 10 yards out.

Pushing forward with pace and precision, Chelsea went in front two minutes later when Higuain turned smartly to pick out Azpilicueta.

The Chelsea defender executed a deft back-heel to Higuain, who continued his run and crashed a brilliant finish into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

It was only Higuain’s fourth goal of a disappointing loan spell from Juventus after Sarri again picked his old Napoli player instead of Olivier Giroud, who has complained he wants to play more if he is to remain at Chelsea.

Sarri’s problems lay at the back rather than up front on this occasion and Burnley punished more poor defending to equalise in the 24th minute.

With Chelsea slow to react to a Burnley free-kick, Mee’s header was glanced on by Chris Wood and the unmarked Barnes apply the finishing touch with a close-range volley.

Hazard was tormenting Burnley and another incisive raid ended with Azpilicueta forcing Heaton to save at his near post.

But Chelsea ran out of steam and when Giroud replaced Higuain, the angry Argentine threw a training top and shouted in frustration.

AFP

Barnes Stars As Burnley Boost Premier League Survival Bid

Bournemouth’s Spanish defender Diego Rico (R) vies with Burnley’s English striker Ashley Barnes during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Burnley at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on April 6, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Ashley Barnes went from zero to hero as Burnley boosted their bid for Premier League survival with a crucial 3-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Sean Dyche’s side made the worst possible start at Dean Court when Barnes headed into his own net as he tried to clear under pressure from Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake in the fourth minute.

However, Burnley were gifted an equaliser in the 18th minute as Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic let Ashley Westwood’s corner go straight through his hands and Chris Wood nodded in at the far post.

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Inspired by the New Zealand forward’s 11th goal this season, the Clarets struck again two minutes later, with Westwood firing home after Chris Mepham failed to clear Dwight McNeil’s cross.

Burnley were well on top and Barnes struck at the right end in the 57th minute.

Once again Begovic was guilty of poor handling, allowing the ball to slip to Wood, who laid it back for Barnes to slot into the empty net.

Burnley are eight points clear of the relegation zone, and although third-bottom Cardiff have a game in hand, Dyche’s men have taken a major step towards staying up.

“There was no nervousness and we stayed clear-minded. We had some real moments of quality too,” Dyche said.

“Twenty-four points since Christmas is a very strong return. It puts us in a much healthier situation than we were two games ago. We want to finish the season well.”

Leicester powered to a 4-1 rout of relegated Huddersfield as Brendan Rodgers’ side moved into seventh.

Youri Tielemans put Leicester ahead at the John Smith’s Stadium with his second goal since joining on loan from Monaco.

The Belgian midfielder netted with a deflected strike from the edge of the area after Huddersfield were unable to clear Jamie Vardy’s miscued shot in the 24th minute.

Vardy doubled Leicester’s lead three minutes after half-time, collecting Ricardo Pereira’s cross and slotting home after rounding keeper Ben Hamer.

Huddersfield midfielder Aaron Mooy reduced the deficit with a 52nd-minute penalty controversially awarded for Caglar Soyuncu’s challenge on Karlan Grant.

James Maddison put the result beyond doubt with a fine free-kick in the 79th minute.

Bottom of the table Huddersfield, playing their first home match since relegation was confirmed, endured one last blow when Vardy stroked in an 84th-minute penalty after the England striker was brought down by Terrence Kongolo.

Luka Milivojevic extended his superb penalty record as Crystal Palace won 1-0 at Newcastle to climb 11 points clear of the bottom three.

Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune was stretchered off with his left knee heavily strapped after a nasty second-half collision with Andros Townsend that left him needing a hospital scan.

Roy Hodgson’s team took the points in the 81st minute when Wilfried Zaha was clipped by DeAndre Yedlin and Serbian midfielder Milivojevic slammed in his 10th successful spot-kick this term.

AFP